‘Hampstead Heath’ 1929. This wood engraving was printed in an edition of 30. It was also published as a newspaper advertisement for the Underground  Railways Company, as it was then called. Like the engravings on the Post yesterday and the day before, this proof has now been sold. (For the keen: a 400 page PhD about Claire Leighton by Caroline Mesrobian Hickman is available online here.)


‘Umbrella Menders, Toulon’ by Clare Leighton also dates from the mid 1920s.


There is an exhibition at Abbott and Holder, round the corner from the shop (at 30 Museum Street), of wood engravings by two of our very favourites, Clare Leighton and Gwen Raverat. The exhibition runs until May 12th and the woodcuts are for sale. First up:  proof for ‘Toulon Washerwomen’  1925, printed in an edition of 75.

Elisabeth Ayrton

Good Simple Cookery from 1958. Elisabeth Ayrton (1910-1991) was a novelist and cookery book writer (one of her daughters is the child psychologist Dr Penelope Leach). In 1952 she married for the second time the painter Michael Ayrton who was the grandson of the pioneering Hertha Ayrton: scientist and suffragette and inspiration for the subject of Edith Zangwill’s novel The Call which we will publish in October this year.


The Kitchen Companion was published in 1939. Georges de Mauduit de Kervern, born in 1893, was known as the Vicomte de Mauduit. General de Mauduit, his great-grandfather, went to St Helena with Napoleon; his father, Comte de Mauduit, was a cavalry officer and Chief of Staff; his mother, a great beauty, died when Georges, who had three younger sisters, was only 14. After his father remarried Georges went to school in England and then travelled widely – the subtitle of the autobiographical Private Views (1932) is ‘reminiscences of a wandering nobleman.’ He was an aviator in WW1 and worked on irrigation projects in Egypt. He made his home in England, France and America and had numerous well-connected friends in many countries; he was married (briefly) twice and had one daughter. Vicomte de Mauduit wrote four cookery books, PB no. 54 They Can’t Ration These (1940) being his last. He is believed to have been captured by the Nazis after the Fall of France and to have died in Germany.


The Book of the Onion (1947) by one of ‘our’ authors Ambrose Heath (1891-1969) who wrote over seventy cookery books between 1933 and 1968 including Good Food on the Aga (PB no. 45) and The Country Life Cookery Book (PB no. 109).


A 1950 cookery book with a cover by an unkown illustrator (although they were clearly influenced by Eric Ravilious) which prompted a discussion here of the importance of fish-buying in fiction: so often, in the days when middle-class women believed they should not do their own cooking and Cook ruled in the kitchen, buying fish was one of the few things they did for themselves. At the beginning of The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim Mrs Arbuthnot’s life revolves round dreary expeditions to buy fish – until she abandons fish and goes to Italy. But in A House in the Country (PB no. 31) Cressida lives too far away from town to go to the fishmonger herself each week (and she is too busy) and so her fish parcel is wrapped in paper and delivered to her on the local school-bus.

Plats The original cover of PB no 70, Plats du Jour, illustrated by David Gentleman. We now stock a Penguin Postcard Box of a hundred cookery book covers from various vintage cookbooks and when you open up the box, this is the first postcard on the top of the pile. Plats du Jour, originally published in 1957, was one of the bestselling cookery books of the 1950s.


And finally, Sislin Fay Allen, the first black woman to join London’s Metropolitan Police, 15th February 1968, wearing a cape designed by Norman Hartnell. She now lives in south London (more details here.)



Employees at McDonald’s in Southfield, Michigan, in 1978.

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